How to teach when students ignore you

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by newbie12, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2018

    Today in class I decided to create a fun 'inquiry' based maths activity for my year 8 class (I teach at a boys school). I brought all the materials and was super prepared.

    Unfortunately this class is so tough (I have posted about them before). They wouldn't quieten down to hear the instructions of what they were meant to do. It was a disaster. Some students were walking around lost. Some students were being hostile and rude to me "Ms won't teach use" "why do have the crappiest teacher in the world." I felt like crying. I know we are not meant to take their comments and disrespect personally as they are kids and they are often nasty and rude at this age but it really affects me.

    Anyway how should I teach if students are just not willing to listen, get off phones/ laptops etc.
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Sep 14, 2018

    I'm struggling with that in some of my classes, as well. Unfortunately, I find what works and we do more of that. In this case, it's Kahoots, Quizlet Live, etc. And videos. Nothing else really engages them, and if I let them do group work, even for short periods, and even with clearly defined roles, they immediately get too loud and off task. They are simply not interested in academic tasks or learning. I feel bad for the handful of students in those classes who are interested, and I try to include the occasional engaging activity occasionally, but it leads to such extreme discipline issues (some of my students are literally juvenile delinquents) that it isn't worth it.
     
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  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Sep 14, 2018

    I know our teacher "preparation" classes teach us that if we just prepare "engaging" enough lessons, our students will magically want to learn and be challenged and inspired and stand on their desks cheering for us. The reality is, with a class that is this disengaged, you really have to go back to the basics/bare bones before you can try out more exciting/engaging lessons. I would go back to very straightforward, simple, structured lessons, even back to doing a timed worksheet that you collect and grade right away. Many students who are at this point are actually struggling with the basics anyway and need more explicit skills review than we realize. Once you get things under control, you can try throwing in a "fun" lesson and see how it goes.
     
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  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Sep 14, 2018

    They don’t deserve fun. Buckle down. Worksheets. Straight rows. Silent, independent work.
     
  6. socalenglish

    socalenglish Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2018 at 4:58 PM

    Agree with Ima. Also— there are no phones or laptops. It is early enough in the year for you to adopt a no- nonsense approach.
     
  7. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2018 at 6:37 PM

    Do you have a board where you can write the directions, step by step? I would. Along with the fact that it will be graded. Remind them that they are in class to work toward their success and even if they love you so much that they want to repeat the class a second time, they might much prefer to pass first time and then just come back to visit. Try to stay positive and try not to let them see that they get to you. (For me this isn't that easy, but good to have as goal!) It really will get easier. remember they are children and you are the adult. If they won't put electronics away, note down who, and spend some time calling parents. and with parents, stay positive, but let them know that their child must not bring electronics to class and have office number for parents to call in case of emergency. Start conversation with at least one positive fact about their kid. Good luck! Go slow to go fast - work routines so that instruction gets easier.
     
  8. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2018 at 12:32 AM

    thanks for the advice. I hate going to this class through.

    Today, one of the kids went into my bag and stole my keys. There is not much I can do about it obviously as I don't know who did it, but what as__holes. Like criminals.
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Sep 17, 2018 at 4:52 PM

    This is the BS among BS that they teach us in ALL teacher prep, regardless of where you go to school. A lot of the times you can plan active and engaging lessons and many students will still actively work AGAINST you and derail the entire thing.

    :mad:
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 20, 2018 at 9:12 PM

    Absolutely! Give something straightforward and easy to understand, direction-wise. Read xx pages, answer xx questions when you're done. Define these vocabulary words. Focus more on the behavior than on the assignment at first. Get them totally quiet (wait as long as needed) and then explain the directions quickly and calmly. Give them the work, then stand in the front of the class and just watch. Have very clear behavior expectations - You have xx minutes to get this done. Please stay in your seat. If you have any questions, raise your hand. You may not talk. (Or whatever your expectations are.) Then call them out every time they aren't following your expectations - "Voices should be off." "Stay in your seat." At that point, if they totally ignore you and get up to talk to someone anyway after your reminder to stay seated, they are being defiant and should receive a consequence/office referral.

    It's important to be consistent every single time. If someone politely gets up to ask for help, tell them to return to their seat. Don't allow exceptions, because that's when trouble starts as they'll try to find the actual boundary.

    This sounds harsh, maybe, but if you can get them working quietly as described above, you'll eventually be able to get their respect and attention enough to do some of the more "fun" lessons. First, though, they need to see you mean business.

    This is what I'd do in elementary, at least, but older students can be tougher. What grade is this?
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 20, 2018 at 9:14 PM

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